spinning samples and swatches

I’ve been busy working up handspun samples for Happy Fuzzy Yarn to display in the booth at the summer trade show of The National Needle Arts next week.


I’m also knitting and crocheting (and hopefully weaving) swatches of each sample.

Fibres and colourways shown are:
100% Bombyx silk in Death & Taxes (center); clockwise from top: 100% Falkland in Crete, 100% BFL in Hemoglobin, 75% BFL/25% Silk in Kelp, 100% Merino in Hearth, 50% Merino/50% Yak in Azores, 100% Polwarth in Sunset, and 50% Merino/50% Tencel in Cobalt.

a spinning surprise

I’ve lamented for years that I never seem to find the wonderful thrift store or yard sale finds that others do. While I love my wheel and its story, I wanted to have That Find.

On Mother’s Day my mum couldn’t wait to take us into the garage to see “what she found for me”. She was helping clean out a friend’s house for several weeks …


I stood there with my jaw bouncing on the ground for a bit. Really? For real? Am I dreaming?

Shouldn’t I be giving her a gift? (Don’t worry, I did. I repaired a handbag she likes.)

I am in shock. This sort of thing happens to everyone else. It’s not a wheel I’d go out and purchase, but I vow to give her the love she deserves. I’m still trying to convince E she can go somewhere upstairs once I get her cleaned up.

If I had known, I would have gone out to help! (There was yarn too. I also acquired a very nice basket of some… kitchen cotton. Which is actually good. While it’s not colours I would choose for myself, I still need to write up and make a new sample of the woven/knit towel pattern and don’t actually have kitchen cotton in my stash!)

The wheel is patiently waiting for me to clean her up and tie the drive band*. While she waits, I introduced her to the bee. Yesterday they had a talk about the many differences and similarities in wheels. Then they had a lively debate about this wheel (and its double treadle sibling) that ysolda tweeted about the other day.


Overall she looks to be in good shape. While the finish is showing some age, the leather of the maidens and footman looks still to be okay. She only has one bobbin (I suspect along the way they were separated and since no one who was helping tidy up knew about wheels, they have not been reunited.)

I’m still waiting to hear back from my mum to learn more of the wheel’s story. She should be at least as old as I am (*cough*29*cough*).

My current understanding is she sat in the prior owner’s living room and was well used for many years.

No, I don’t know exactly who made her yet. There isn’t a signature or mark anywhere on the underside. There may be a mark at the hub/centre of the wheel but even my pencil rubbing didn’t seem to shed light on the maker. I thought she may be a leclerc, but after looking in my copy of Spinning and weaving with wool by Paula Simons (updated edition, © 1977) … I don’t think so. Close, but not quite.


Hopefully this will energize my spinning … that bee is still waiting for me to finish the singles and ply!

* The rope you see on the wheel “tying things together” most likely is the drive band. I’ve just not had time to untie it and figure out if it is and how to tie the the double belt yet.

not quite tour de fleece

I’m not officially participating in the Tour de Fleece (2011 link but explains well), but I am trying to not ignore the wheel and spindles for months at a time. Chatter about the tour has inspired me to spin more this past week. So far I’ve cleared out the entire backlog of plying. It wasn’t much, but it was hoarding bobbins. It seemed appropriate to use my bike basket as my kate. Now that bobbins are clear I plan to finish spinning up the braid of lavendersheep superwash merino yvonne gifted me years ago. My other goal is similar to the Yarn Harlot’s.. I want to get my fibre (currently in a 56qt storage bin) down to the point where it fits in one bin of the expedit and gifting away more of the stash might just happen. My deadline is pretty vague too. I’m thinking “end of summer”. ;)

So far I’ve plied up some 50+ yards of the lavendersheep superwash merino and I finally finished 67 metres of Icelandic wool. I still have over half of the merino to spin.

spinning a yarn

I love to watch a braid of fibre ..

antique preppy fibre

twist through my fingers into singles ..

antique preppy singles

and turn into a beautiful two ply yarn.

antique preppyFibre: Polworth
Colourway: Antique Preppy
Hand dyed by: Limonene Designs
Wheel: Spinolution Bee (first edition)
Ratio (singles/plying): 7.5:1 (both)
Singles direction spun: Z
Number of plies: 2
Plied direction spun: S
Plied wraps per inch: 12-14
Plied yardage: approximately 200 yards
Yarn classification: light worsted (ish)

I love that I can still anticipate the wonder as it is knitted or woven into something unique and special.

Soon. Soon.